Weak Pound Hitting Your Holiday Plans? Not At These Destinations!

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
1st August 2019

The currency markets have not been kind to us of late. Something called Brexit? Had to Google it, apparently it’s a thing.

But while sterling has plunged, not least over the last week as the pound experienced a Boris-bounce in the same way as a tennis ball bounces down the stairs, there are glimmers of hope. If you’re planning a holiday in Europe or the US then sure, things aren’t looking good for your wallet; the pound has performed especially badly against both , particularly the dollar since June 2016. But, if you’re willing to broaden your horizons, then there are places where your pound is doing quite well. Here are some suggestions…

Argentina

Argentina

Think we’re having a shocker? Spare a thought for Argentina. The home of incredible steak and dashing Jilly Cooper polo heart-throbs, is also experiencing self-inflicted economic pain of their own. So much so that they’ve just had to apply to the IMF for a massive $56bn bailout.

But travel vultures circle here, because the pound has soared 50% against the Argentine peso. The country abounds with stunning scenery, gaucho culture the incredible Andes and vibrant city living. Buenos Aires is a foodie destination like few others, a meeting of Latin and European cultures. Head into the country and experience waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and wine tasting.

Turkey

Turkey

Let me Anatolia where to head this summer… Turkey. Thanks to the authoritarian tendencies of President Erdoğan, the country’s economy is, deservedly, languishing. Maybe worth giving a miss if you’re a dissident journalist or anti-AK Parti activist, but otherwise a solid holiday destination, not least because the pound is up against the Turkish lira by 14%.

The stunning coastline is not short of incredible beach clubs and hotels, but Istanbul is also well worth checking into.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland is potentially on the brink of another bust. In 2008 they came crashing to earth having been well and truly credit crunched, and with the recent collapse of airline Wow Air aligned with plunging visitor numbers (down 24% in May) means that the tiny Atlantic island is now struggling. The pound is up over 11% against the Icelandic krona, making now a good time to get into your longboat and invade.

The blue lagoon is, of course, a firm tourist favourite with its hot springs, but the rugged coastline, whale watching and Skandi culture are all major draws, not to mention the welcome you’ll receive from pretty much every one of the 330,000 population.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka experienced a horrible terror attack that led to the Foreign Office putting the island nation off-limits to tourists. Action by the Sri Lankan government has led the advice to be revised to ‘stay vigilant’, but with an economy driven by tourism, the threat to Sri Lanka’s currency has remained. And while it’s climbing against the pound, sterling is still ahead.

Which buys you more in one of the most stunning countries on earth. As well as post-card style white sandy beaches, go on safari and meet wild elephants, explore historic cities and temples or head into the mountains with their luscious tea plantations.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

There’s one place in Europe that doesn’t have an eye-watering exchange rate compared with the pound, and that’s Gibraltar. Because they use sterling. If you were hoping your pounds would go the mile in British overseas territories in the Caribbean, then you’re outta luck as they’re generally pegged to the US dollar. Gibraltar, however, uses British currency much as they do in the channel islands. Which means all the sun, and none of the FX dramas.

Pegged onto the underside of Spain and guarding the straits between Europe and Africa, this strategic British outpost is also a fun place to explore, for its rich history and curious culture.

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Of course, even when you’ve found a destination that the pound’s beating, there are a few factors to remember. Firstly, the situation is pretty fluid, Boris Johnson might tank the pound, or cause it to soar, over the next couple months, so all bets are off. But the one thing you can bet on is flight prices. Given fuel and so on are worked out in US dollars, prices will generally rise as the pound sinks. Maybe the best solution is to stay in the UK?

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